Six children in the same courtyard, each one of them victim to a different form of family violence. A neglectful, egoistic doctor who pays no attention to his neighbours, not even to the old sailor who saved his life. An aging policeman, a failed theatre director and a master mason, with the transforming city of Riga in the backdrop. A country cottage in flames and a family break up, within the context of an undecipherable destiny. Two children – brother and sister – on the road towards a city as unreal as themselves. Osvalds Zebris’ stories capture those moments of existence visible only to the most attentive observer, laying particular attention on language and an idiosyncratic vision of the world. His characters seem bound to an irrevocable destiny, even if all of them are given a choice in the end, the freedom to decide their own lives. The stories are brought together by the enigmatic, ephemeral, recurring character of Mihails, who connects the dots of freedom between each of them.

Osvalds Zebris (1975) is a Latvian journalist and writer. His fi rst book, a collection of short stories, Brīvība tīklos (“Freedom in Networks”), won the Latvian literature award for best debut work (2010). His novel Koka nama Laudis (“The People of the Wooden House”) came out in 2013. His novel Gailu kalnaēnā (“In the Shadow of the Rooster Hill”, 2014), issued in the series We. Latvia. The 20th Century, won the 2017 European Prize for Literature. In 2019 he published the novel Māra. Zebris is a member of the Union of Latvian Writers.